A/N: The last chapter of Imperiled Future! Surprise. Please refer to the note in my profile, which explains why I won't be able to update much of anything for a while. Don't worry, you'll get more – I promise you that. But in the meantime, I hope you've enjoyed romping through 85 chapters – 85?! – of the Shielded Destiny trilogy, and I also hope that you'll come back to watch as I turn it from a trilogy to a series.
...What, you didn't think I'd write a sequel?
Mira: I have bouts when I experience that same dimensional reading. I really enjoy it when it happens for me, because that shows me I'm comfortable with the style in which the material's written. Sorry about the delay, but it had to happen.
Skraku: A wreck at any speed is bad. It just happens to be exceptionally bad at 100 mph.
Mistess: Well, I'm glad it caught your attention! I hope you'll come back to it once I do.
The phrase "seeing is believing" was not something that applied to this situation.
She'd seen it. And no matter how many times she replayed it in her mind, she was still having great trouble placing a single iota of belief in it.
Jade allowed her speedometer to creep back up to 125 once she moved out of the heavily used area of the highway. She hadn't much felt like getting busted by the highway patrol of a foreign country whose roads seemed to barely let her off at 100 kph. This section had been closed for the tournament, but among her skills was finding a way where none seemed forthcoming. The road was supposed to be deserted, but she'd watched Kyle, astride his motorcycle, shoot down this stretch at an insane speed. He was chasing half a dozen black-robed people on horseback. Not only that – and at this, Jade could only shake her head once more – but he was having a hard time catching up to them.
Her disbelief only spurred her foot to press down harder on the accelerator. Her little white car responded and the speedometer's needle crept further past the speed limit. Her blazing green eyes flicked back to the road as she wondered just where the hell Kyle was and what was going on.
She hadn't seen a sign of them for a while, and she grit her teeth, thinking she had lost them. But suddenly on the asphalt near the edge of the road, several shreds of rubber became the first indication that something was wrong. As she reached the apex of a small hill, she had to slam on the brakes, causing the little vehicle to fishtail and swerve dangerously as she fought to keep it from leaving the highway.
Jade brought the car to a halt, heart in her throat... and it was only partly due to the fact that she had nearly been in an accident.
The scene before her looked more like a road chase movie set... skid marks and shreds of rubber gave way to pieces of metal and a swath of dark blood, all leading to an unmoving form.
It was Kyle.
Her hands fumbled as she unbuckled her seat belt and scrambled out of the car.
He was lying at an awkward angle on the blood-tinged pavement. His right leg was pinned under the wreckage of his motorcycle, bent at an impossible angle. His right arm bore gashes in it and it hung limply away from his collarbone, as if it had been pulled out. It could have been her imagination, but she almost thought she could see something white poking out of his arm. The side of his head was bereft of hair and skin; the flesh underneath had been exposed and provided a horrific dark splotch to the rest of his countenance, which was pale, almost chalk-white. A wide pool of blood surrounded him.
But possibly the most frightening of all, he didn't even seem to be in pain.
And the reason was apparent in the lack of movement in his chest... not only his chest, but anywhere on his body.
He wasn't breathing.
He's dead, she thought, shuddering. They were going so fast. The bike must have gone over. He's dead.
To be continued in Interposed Fortunes...